Texas Leaders Considering Systemic Approaches to School Shootings

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By Kevin Price, National News Editor, USA Daily Chronicles.

In most places in the United States, when there is a mass murder, there is an instant conversation about the “need to pursue more gun control.”  Such a discussion does not happen in other parts of the world, because most all of them have the toughest laws on the books.  Yet these killing events happen and their stories involve trucks, explosions, even knives (as well as guns). Killers really do not care about the choice of weapon.  In the US, the discussion is about the weapon and not the systemic reasons behind the senseless violence.  That might change following the recent mass shooting in Texas.

Following that, Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement on the state’s next steps. He announced they will host a series of round table discussions to develop systemic solutions to these situations.  Unlike most efforts after a shooting, which takes a laser beam focus on the weapons, the Texas Governor wants to put all the cards on the table.  He does not appear to be interested in the weapon of choice nearly as much as why it is being done.  Furthermore, his approach seems to be rooted in reality.  Every spree killer breaks many laws when doing these acts of violence.  Discussions about curtailing guns will do nothing to impact a mass killer who will use them illegally, if anything, such talk emboldens them.  There are, in the United States, more guns than people.  That disparity between guns and people is even greater in Texas.

So, besides guns, what else can they look at?  How about the actual reasons behind such events?

The mass killing at Santa Fe High School has been described by NBC News as the “4th biggest school massacre” in the modern era.  Yet, this slaughter happened without the now “notorious” AR-15.

The Chicago Tribune reports “This killer’s weapons of choice were a shotgun and a .38-caliber handgun — two of the most common firearms available. What more proof do we need, gun lovers will ask, that the problem isn’t with guns but rather with people?”  This year we have seen knives, trucks, cars, various types of guns, etc. used for spree killings.  There is rarely much in common in the weapon, but there is often a great deal of similarities among the perpetrators.  That appears to be the focus of Texas.  In interviews of people in Santa Fe, very few have been talking gun control, while many have advocated for more school security.

So, besides guns, what else can they look at?  How about the actual reasons behind such events?

I wrote at USA Business Radio: “We should be discussing the ‘why’ behind these events.  What is interesting is the number of people in these stories that suffer from mental health issues and take medicines with warnings of ‘leading’ to suicidal thoughts’ or ‘violence.’  In fact, mental health specialist Dr. Linda Lagemann, has told my radio audience that the “vast majority” of these assailants, are on these type of drugs and their use should be reexamined.  It is important to note they were not on these drugs because of suicidal or violent tendencies, but developed them while on these medications. Meanwhile, Lt. Col. David Grossman, who is a best selling author and leading authority on killology, has told my audience about how the rise of incredibly realistic violent video games since the 1990s has fostered whole generations that are desensitized about killing.  Think about the rise of these games and the growth in this type of violence.  Evidence indicates there is a direct link between the rise of these games and these killings (particularly by young people in schools).”  Focus on the causes would actually offer hope to a weary public.

The mass killing at Santa Fe High School has been described by NBC News as the “4th biggest school massacre” in the modern era.  Yet, this slaughter happened without the now “notorious” AR-15.

In addition, the state is looking at making the schools harder targets (if you look at the manifestos of mass murderers they often describe their choice of location as “soft,” with the biggest factor being “gun free zones”). They are discussing making it harder to get in and out of school by reducing the number of entrances and exits to better monitor people, as well as offering tougher (“airport style”) security.  Those ideas need to be debated (I worry about fire safety with fewer exits), but they are at least rooted in reality.

In the end, the discussion in Texas is centered on the “whys” behind these events and the “hows” on preventing them have some semblance to reality.  Hopefully, this leads to other states taking a more systemic approach to the problem of mass killings.

 

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